Hawse v. Page
Hawse v. Page (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, July 30, 2021): Plaintiffs, church members in Saint Louis County, Missouri, challenged a public health order in response to COVID-19 in part limiting the number of attendees in churches, arguing it violated their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, Missouri’s state constitution, and Missouri’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The lower court dismissed the actions after concluding plaintiffs had no standing. Standing is an essential requirement to bringing a lawsuit, generally requiring that plaintiffs demonstrate some injury that can be traced to the defendant and rectified in some way by the court. Shortly after plaintiffs appealed, the public health restrictions on religious gatherings were withdrawn. The 8th Circuit found that the lower court properly dismissed the case for lack of standing, but also stated that even if plaintiffs had standing, the claim would be moot because the public health order was rescinded. Read the full decision here.